3. Some Fundamental Continuities
The new National Security Strategy, and the accompanying Strategic Defence and Security Review, will be built on certain solid foundations – most have been at the heart of bi-partisan policy over many years, including;
- Maintenance of the nuclear deterrent
- EU cooperation
- Active involvement in international institutions
- Continued determination to prevent proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction
- Maintaining the security of the 2012 Olympic Games
No surprises here and nothing to be concerned over except that we think continued defence cooperation with the EU should be on a minimal basis. That said the Conservative policy is to only continue co-operation with the European Security and Defence Policy (EDSP) if it can show that the capabilities being offered do not duplicate those available in NATO. It also pledges to strive for co-location of staff. I believe EDSP has changed its name to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CDSP) and it will be difficult to reconcile the natural eurosceptic nature of the Conservatives with the accelerating pace of EU integration post Lisbon.
The UK and Netherlands were scheduled to provide an amphibious brigade (the existing UK/NL structure) to act as as the EU ready brigade this year, whether this actually happens is another matter of course.
Troubled waters ahead here.
Reaffirming the primacy of NATO and committing to its reform is a positive move.
Whilst recognising that each of these alliances has problems but when taken as a whole contribute to the UK’s national security.
The report goes on to list a number of important commitments across a range of areas.
Nothing radical, just sensible modest proposals although good intentions will be difficult to implement.